I found the space beautiful, flowers are not quite yet at peek, but the plants were vivid and green, early blooms were attractive to a number of butterflies, and the songs of bobolinks filled the air. While the trails are not fully flat, they traversed alright with a very urban stroller, Kestrel enjoyed the ride and slept through 95% of it.
I have accepted that I can bird with Kestrel, but that it will be slightly different. One thing I need to do more of is get better at ear birding, I could get more bang for my buck in a shorter time frame as time is a consideration for feeding, exposure, and of course soiled diapers. So we did not walk the full trail loop at Shawangunk, but even on an out and back walk, we still saw some great grassland birds.
|I come to Shawangunk to breed and nest. I only do this in grasslands. Grasslands are becoming more and more scarce of a habitat across North America. They are often turned into agricultural fields or rangelands. Shanwangunk is protected habitat and its is so valuable to my survival.|
Most people don't think of grasslands as a habitat in New York but they do exist and they also have experienced significant bird decline as per Audubon.
|What is 'Shawangunk,' you ask? Well it is a Dutch translation from the Munsee Lenape language, meaning "it is smoky air" - and yes for those of you familiar with this part of New York, yes, Monsey is named as such because it was inhabited by the Munsee. Shawangunk is managed as part of the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex.|
|Who are the Lenape, you ask? They were here, the real New Yorkers, here indigenously and then of course, Europeans came. They inhabited not only the areas here in and around where I live, but even into New Jersey, and New York City and beyond! I am just a bird, but you can learn more about the indiginous people from this area from the people themselves here: https://nanticoke-lenape.info/history.htm|
|I like many grassland birds, are in decline. I, myself am considered to be a common bird in steep decline. This is greatly due to habitat loss. A subspecies of my kind is federally endangered in Florida.|
|So, why am I called Grasshopper Sparrow? Well, I do enjoy eating grasshoppers among other insects. I am also quite small. And oddly enough, out of my big mouth comes a small, buzzy, sound, akin to that of an insect... Take a listen.|
|Thank you for listening to my Ted Talk.|
|Red-winged blackbird female, likely protecting her nest. It always seems like the red-wing blackbirds and bobolinks are constantly squabbling over space.|
|A male bobolink, singing its bubbly, metallic song. Take a listen here.|
|The house wren, showing its house with another house wren inside.|